Juice cleanse: Yay or nay?

PHOTO: Juice cleanse: Yay or nay?

SINGAPORE - Today's much-raved-about juice cleanse is no longer about downing copious amounts of lemonade. Instead, the latest hype revolves around new combinations of cold-pressed fruit and veggie juices, and has an ardent following of Hollywood hot bods, including Gwyneth Paltrow as well as Miranda Kerr.

The results of such juice cleanses, if recent social media buzz is anything to go by, seem promising, but do they really work and are they safe?

During a cleanse, one essentially skips solid foods and subsists on liquids in order to give the digestive system a break and allow the body to flush out toxins.

The idea is not new and is often credited to Stanley Burroughs, who introduced the infamous detox lemonade - a concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water - in his 1976 book The Master Cleanser.

His successor, Peter Glickman, took this further in his 2004 book Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days.

The new juice cleanse proponents have changed the formulas - presumably because of the criticism levelled against older detox regimens like the Master Cleanse - to incorporate new combinations of fresh produce, with added vitamins and minerals in some cases.

And, in case you're wondering, laxatives in varying amounts are often still advised as part of the plan - and in the name of colon cleansing.

That said, not just any juice would do. It has to be fresh, unpasteurised and cold-pressed.

Echoing raw food enthusiasts, many juice cleanse champions assert that this method of juice extraction is best because other tools like blenders and centrifugal juicers generate heat that can destroy the healthful nutrients, minerals and enzymes in fresh produce.

And, as one might expect, cold-pressed juices come at a premium: A 500ml bottle can cost upwards of $10 and a three-day cleanse can amount to at least $200 for 18 bottles - excluding supplements and delivery fees.

Still, some may consider this a low price to pay for a better complexion, more energy and a slimmer silhouette. In Singapore alone, there are currently more than eight juice cleanse retailers - both brick-and-mortar and online - and probably more will emerge.

Is it worth a shot? We find out.

Shape writer Estelle went on a three-day Skinny Genes organic juice cleanse sponsored by Beauty Cleanse. Every day, she drank six 500ml bottles of juice - each with a different combination of fruits and veggies - at two-hour intervals.

The package, priced at $330, came with supplements (flaxseed oil, acai berry and "liver support" capsules, a green superfoods powder as well as spirulina powder), laxatives (colosan powder) and pu-erh tea.

She was also instructed to have a glass of warm water with lemon juice first thing in the morning to prepare the body for cleansing and to drink as much water as possible over the course of the day to aid detoxification.

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